Australian Court Fines Viagogo $7m For ‘Misleading Conduct’
An Australian Federal Court judge ordered ticket reseller Viagogo to pay a penalty of A$7 million ($5.03 million) after finding it guilty last year of making false or misleading representations to buyers.
In handing down his decision Oct. 2, Justice Stephen Burley described Viagogo’s responses as giving “the appearance of being a company that is indifferent to the interests of Australian consumers and which prefers to elevate its own profit motives above those interests, even when on notice of the potential for harm being done.”
Burley further slapped an injunction against Viagogo that it not repeat its contraventions, ordered it to conduct a compliance program and pay the costs of the watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Association (ACCC) which brought the action in August 2017.
It reported that from May 1–June 25 2017 Viagogo claimed to be an “official” seller” of certain events, that some tickets were scarce and added the 27.6% booking fee late in the process.
After the Oct. 2 decision, Viagogo protested, “Since that time, we have overhauled our platform – a process that included consultation with consumer protection regulators in a number of countries.”
ACCC chair Rod Sims called Viagogo’s business practices “unacceptable” and added, “(The) $7m penalty sends a strong signal to businesses like Viagogo conducting business in Australia that they cannot get away with profiting from misleading Australian consumers about the price of the tickets they are selling, or other misleading conduct.”